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(Neanderthal Parallax #2)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  5,407 ratings  ·  249 reviews
Robert J. Sawyer, the award-winning and bestselling writer, hits the peak of his powers in Humans, the second book of The Neanderthal Parallax, his trilogy about our world and parallel one in which it was the Homo sapiens who died out and the Neanderthals who became the dominant intelligent species. This powerful idea allows Sawyer to examine some of the deeply rooted assu ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 31st 2011 by Tor Books (first published February 1st 2003)
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Average rating 3.82  · 
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 ·  5,407 ratings  ·  249 reviews

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Nov 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
This book is pretty terrible.

I shouldn't have gone on with the series. Now that I'm two thirds of the way through I feel like i should finish it. Just to see where this train wreck is going. It's the book equivalent of slowing down while passing a car wreck, hoping to maybe see a decapitated head.

Another reviewer called out this book as basically being an extended liberal strawman argument. Yeah, it is that.

My friend Ceridwen said something about a part of a Sawyer book she read being like so
Feb 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really love this author and want to read everything he's written. His books are so good that at first I thought his writing was nothing special, generic. This is because I become so wrapped up in his stories and the worlds he creates, I can't extricate myself enough to see his "style" or comment or even remember his particular wording. From page 1, I am immediately absorbed. I like his characters. I care about them. They are all really distinct and do not fall into cliches. While I know who is ...more
Fantasy Literature
Mar 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Ponter, the Neanderthal from another dimension, is back on Earth – our Earth.

This time, Ponter has brought nearly a dozen of the most celebrated scientists and intellectuals from his world. Though we humans are a difficult bunch to deal with, the Neanderthals seem determined to make contact work. Thank goodness, since a lone gunman on our side shoots a member of their delegation as soon as he gets the chance. Mary, meanwhile, is recruited into an American think tank that is determined to figure
Bruce Kroeze
Oct 04, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: sf
The second book in this series. It won awards, though I can't figure out why.

I found the characters to be even more cardboard cutouts than in the first novel. Also, the sharp insight and extrapolations based on science were notably lacking in this one.

Of course, Neanderthals are good in every way. Handsome men with giant units, they are great and sensitive lovers of course, sweet new-age men who pull together for the good of all.

Who wouldn't love this contrived utopia where no animal has ever go
Aug 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the second volume of Sawyer's Neanderthal Parallax trilogy, and continues the exploration and comparisons of the societies and civilizations introduced in Hominids in a thoughtful and compelling fashion. It does not suffer from the second-book-slump that so many middle books of trilogies do at all; the plot moves along and the characters change and develop splendidly. Sawyer is most noted as a hard-sf writer, and this one has a bit of quantum mechanical speculation but the main focus is ...more
This is one of those series that underscores science fiction as speculative fiction. Beyond being a compelling story, it's an amazing forum for social commentary.

By looking at the alternate world where Neanderthals became the dominant human species, rather than homo sapiens, we can easily see many roads not taken, and the consequences that followed. Things like overpopulation, slavery, and certain livestock born diseases would not exist if we were still hunter/gatherers. There would also be mor
Grace Tenkay
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very entertaining anthropological science fiction with neanderthals the surviving species in an alternate world and species-cross over. Good plot and characters. I'll read the last one in the series too.
Aug 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: archaeology and anthropology lovers
A couple of years ago, I borrowed an at the time roommate's copy of the first volume in this trilogy. It sets up that way back at the beginning of humanity, earth split into two parallel universes, and in the other, it was us who died out, and neanderthals who became the humans of the world. they accidentally open a portal to canada, and the saga begins. In this second of the three books, the main character Ponter convinces his government to let him reopen the portal, and crosses back into our r ...more
Feb 01, 2010 rated it did not like it
More human bashing using our oh so perfect yet totalitarian neanderthal cousins. Simplistic ideas tightly wrapped in bullshit and I wanted the main characters to die. couldn't finish it. Got it as an audiobook, I was sighing and rolling my eyes so much that people around me started taking it personally.
This is sci-fi for congenital idiots.
Brian Gaston
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
It is always difficult to make the second book in a trilogy great (no beginning, no end) but I thought this was a worthy addition to the series and left me wanting to read the final book.
Jorid Sørli
Mar 25, 2017 rated it did not like it
Wow, that was bad. I guess the author was trying to be profound, but it was falling asleep boring! Nothing new happens in this book and the religous discussion are just anoying and neverending. I only finished because I was on a plane with no internet connection. Bad! Stop with book 1!
Darren Vincent
Feb 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
An incredible book. My review of the first book in the series was that I was not all that impressed in comparison to some of his other books. This book more than makes up for whatever I felt was lacking in that book. THIS book is pure Sawyer. Pure fiction backed by (seemingly) sound science. And that is just the shell of the plot.

What makes this book so great (as well as some of his others) is the ideas he brings forth from within the main plot. There were some ideas and situations that I was no
What the hell just happened here? The first book in Robert Sawyer’s “Neanderthal Parallax,” Hominids, was a science fiction exploration of an alternate dimension in which the Neanderthal society became the apex predator, and how this society evolved in a modern day Earth. It won a Hugo award, and if not perfect was at least an entertaining read. It was good enough for me to want to read the second book in the series, Humans.

This second book, well, let’s just say it is not the same. Humans now ho
Jan 17, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
The story line for this series continues to be interesting but as I continue to read a number of Sawyer's books in rapid succession I am becoming less and less fond of his writing.

Some of it is just annoying. For example, in this book a main character in the story is a female PhD Geneticist who works at York University in Toronto. She is offered a job in Rochester, NY, and asks "That's not far from here, is it?" Doh! It's across the lake from you lady! While in Rochester it is suggested that sh
The Plimsolls of the Mind
Feb 21, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi
I had to wait a day or two before I wrote the review for this book.
The first was was amazing and offered such possibility for the exploration of a new world.
This one is such a disappointment.

What it ends up being is a weak romance/rape/revenge novel.
If you're into that kind of thing, you'll dig this series.
If you're a caucasian male and enjoy feeling responsible for all the ills of the world, this will tickle your guilt as well.

I finished it and am curious to see if the last one rede
I found Humans a better read in almost every respect than its predecessor. A more subtle and natural style, yet more action-packed, and also containing even more speculative ideas than the first one.

Perhaps, also, I had to some extent become used to Sawyers' far-fetched ideas and scenarios by now. Well, it is specualtive fiction, after all...
Jul 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: male
this is the weakest of the trilogy, it's ok, but meh
Dan Carey
This was an enjoyable-enough novel. But Robert Sawyer has set his bar so high that I was mildly disappointed in this one. Still, it was nice to get more details on the Neanderthal world.
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really good Sci Fi. Second book in the series was as good as the first. Now on to the third.
This is an alternate universe story and it is extremely well done.
Storyline: 1/5
Characters: 2/5
Writing Style: 2/5
World: 1/5

I think that I can see what readers like about Sawyer’s books without appreciating them myself. Humans, like Hominids (and just about everything else I’ve read from Sawyer) is very casual. The prose is easy to read, the writing straightforward; the story seldom leaves the reader in confusion or uncertainty; the science and science fiction is explained in such a way to let one believe they understand it (or at least enough of it to move on
Michael Battaglia
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Do you believe in love? Do you believe in a love that transcends cultural differences? Do you believe in a love that defies a separate evolutionary path shunted to a parallel earth that requires complicated math to even properly explain how it may be possible in the first place?

If so, then might have come to the place where all your dreams are realized. If not then, ah, I guess its back to swiping on the app.

The first book in Robert Sawyer's "Neanderthals are people, too!" trilogy caught my atte
Wil C. Fry
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites

This was just as enjoyable to read as Book 1 in the series (Hominids), and very deftly carried the story along on a few expected paths but also a couple of surprising ones.

Sawyer found in this world-building exercise a perfect framework on which to hang social commentary, and he does an amazing job of representing both viewpoints of us (Homo sapiens) and the other (Neanderthals) as the two cultures begin a deeper interaction.

Speaking of “deeper interaction”, the only part of the book I wasn’t fo

David Buchanan
Jun 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Sawyers 2nd book in the series. This time the portal is opened deliberately from the Neanderthal side in the hope of shared scientific, cultural and economic benefits.

The story explores both cultures comparing many topics such as sex, science, justice, environment and relationships and in the process examines our own society and culture.

The book follows up on the relationship between Ponter and Mary started in the first book.

An enjoyable read.
Harry Heitman
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really inventive, accessible Sci Fi. I enjoy his plotlines and character development. If only we could actually encounter our Neanderthal half-siblings...
Jul 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Some of the dialogue is forced but there are some interesting ideas about human consciousness in here.
Lis Carey
Feb 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: f-sf, fiction
Note: This review is from several years ago, I'm guessing 2005 or 2006. Clearly I had a very different reaction to Humans Humans (Neanderthal Parallax, #2) by Robert J. Sawyer than to Hominids Hominids (Neanderthal Parallax, #1) by Robert J. Sawyer . I have no idea whether the quality of the two books is really that different, or the change is in me, or whether Humans simply doesn't work out of sequence, but would work better if I read them in order.

This is a 2004 Hugo Award nominee for Best Novel. No, really, it is. You can check the website.

It's also the second of Sawyer's three novels abou
Scott Jann
Nov 27, 2017 rated it liked it
The Neanderthal Parallax consists of three books which take us through the story of Mary Vaughn and the Neanderthal Ponter Boddit. If I had to pick a favorite book, it would be the first of the series, but it made me want to read the complete trilogy so I wouldn’t recommend reading only one of the books.

The story was great science fiction, in that it gave great insight into our present-day world. The author showed many contrasting points about the Neanderthal which made commentary on religion, o
Scott Margo
Mar 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
good sequel to the excellent _Hominids_.
Mar 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
I very much enjoyed the exploration of the unique world the Author crafted for this series. The character's are still amazing. And it is kinda great to read a book where humans are shown as complete inconsequential primitive idiots prone to unnecessary violence.
N.B. Mary Vaughan is such an ignorant idiot! Just proves that religion fucks up everything, and especially the mind, even if it is a scientist's mind. Her idiotic semantics really diminished the pleasure of re-reading this.
Jul 02, 2014 rated it it was ok
What I said about the first book of the trilogy.

Plus: The author shouldn't have listened to whoever told him that it was time for a very explicit sex scene. You should only write about the things you know after all...

And I won't even try to understand why the Neanderthal protagonist has to become a Christian - I am afraid my head would explode if I did.
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Robert J. Sawyer is one of Canada's best known and most successful science fiction writers. He is the only Canadian (and one of only 7 writers in the world) to have won all three of the top international awards for science fiction: the 1995 Nebula Award for The Terminal Experiment, the 2003 Hugo Award for Hominids, and the 2006 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Mindscan.
Robert Sawyer grew up in

Other books in the series

Neanderthal Parallax (3 books)
  • Hominids (Neanderthal Parallax, #1)
  • Hybrids (Neanderthal Parallax, #3)

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